October 22, 2015

Dear WesleyNexus Colleague:

We at WesleyNexus, like the rest of the country, are shocked and dismayed by the violence occurring
across the country perpetrated by persons who feel they must destroy those with whom they feel no sense
of loyalty or value.  Through distorted thinking and visceral reaction to perceived disrespect, they lash out
against those they see as a threat to their values.  They live in a self-deluded world of small values, of
myopic vision and diminutive loyalties.  In response however, we must reflect a deeper, broader and more
inclusive perspective.  In
Yes, But Not Quite, a recent book by Dwayne Tunstall on Josiah Royce’s ethico-
religious philosophy, this broader perspective was succinctly presented.  Over 100 years ago, Royce
equated loyalty to love and purpose and his term “loyalty to loyalty” is synonymous with what Christians
understand as agape.  Tunstall states that for Royce, “Loyalty to loyalty… involves respecting the diversity
of moral ideals and trying to create a more hospitable environment where persons could pursue their ideals
in a non-confrontational (or less confrontational) atmosphere.  Living a life in pursuit of genuine loyalty lets
one respect and willingly assist others as fellow persons who yearn to pursue their own loyalties, even if
they are different from one’s own.”  Royce described this network of persons who pursue this genuine
loyalty as the Beloved Community, a term later used by Martin Luther King in his pursuit of social justice.  
But, as Tunstall states, “Royce's metaphysics of community does not only have an ethical and religious
dimension to it; it also involves a reinterpretation of scientific inquiry.  According to Royce, we are fit to
interpret our environment in creative and novel ways and to make reliable scientific hypotheses that enable
us to live in a precarious and evolving world.”   

WesleyNexus continues to encourage the coming together of all three dimensions, the religious, the ethical
and the scientific, into an energetic, engaged dialogue.  Coming up this year, we will be hosting our forth
Evolution Weekend discussion on “
Technology, BioEthics and the Human Future.”  It will be available
to all participants at no charge and, assuming that we have sufficient funding, the event will be a live
webcast available to all merely by registering with an email.       

However, since we are an all-volunteer organization and rely on our participants to continue our presence
on the web and to develop in-person programs, we need your support.  To be specific, we need additional
funding to enable us to host the webcast and record it for later viewing. We hope that you will consider
supporting us this holiday season with a contribution of any size.  We need about $1500 to support the
February program.  Any additional funds will be used to support additional programming in 2016.  THANK
YOU TO THOSE OF YOU WHO ACTUALLY SENT RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS. We want to stress
that all funds that we collect are spent on maintaining our web presence, sponsoring programs, distributing
the newsletter and promoting activities of other organizations within the science and religion space.
All
contributions are acknowledged for tax reporting purposes either through PayPal receipt or by letter.
Please
consider supporting us with a contribution either through the
PayPal DONATE link below, or, by sending
a check to:  



WesleyNexus, Inc.  
24500 Fossen Road
Damascus, MD 20872


Thanks in advance for your support.

God Bless,

Rick, Maynard, and the rest of the
WesleyNexus Board of Directors


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February 13-14, 2016: 3:00 pm Eastern time.
Evolution Weekend, sponsored nationwide by the Clergy Letter Project.
WesleyNexus is pleased to announce that we once again will be hosting the premier event in Maryland, at
the Baltimore-Washington Conference Mission Center in Fulton, Maryland. For the fourth year we will be
live-streaming the event from our webpage. We encourage all in our network who are in the near vicinity to
plan on attending and bring a large delegation from your congregation. We have clarified our 2016 program
under the theme of  
Technology, BioEthics and the Human Future.  We have confirmed that Professor
Sondra Wheeler
, bioethicist and Professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in
Washington will be our moderator for the program.  The panel addressing our theme will be:

•        Robert J. Morell, Ph.D., Director, the Genomics & Computational Biology Core at the National
    Institute on Deafness & other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda
    MD
•        Fatimah L. C. Jackson, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Director of the W. Monague Cobb
    Research Laboratory, Howard University, Washington DC
•        N. C. SivaSubramanian, Ph.D., M.D. Professor of Pediatrics and Dept head at the Georgetown
    University Medical Center, Washington DC.
•        Jaydee Hanson, Policy Director, International Center for Technology Assessment
•        TBD

We will be building a separate web page that will contain more information, biographical links and
discussion questions to be addressed so please visit our website after the first of the year.  Meanwhile, any
of you beyond the Metropolitan Washington area can plan now to organize your own discussion group by
downloading the webcast at the time when it is streamed: 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, Feb 14.
We hope to provide an email link to allow you to ask questions of our panelists in real time. This will cost
you nothing, and becomes an excellent way to engage in the science/religion dialogue with colleagues in
your own congregation.

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Recent Events:

International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR)

This is an organization with which we at WesleyNexus suggest that our participants become familiar. The
Society took shape after a four-day conference in 2002, in Granada, Spain, which until the late 15th
century was the center of peaceful discourse between scholars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
In follow-up, ISSR was established for the purpose of the promotion of education through the support of
inter-disciplinary learning and research in the fields of science and religion, conducted where possible in an
international and multi-faith context. The ISSR home webpage is found at
http://www.issr.org.uk/.
Subsequently, the North American section of ISSR was organized and meets annually in conjunction with
the international meetings of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical
Literature (SBL). The meetings of the North American section are coordinated by Dr. Ron Cole-Turner at
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (Ron can be reached at
coleturn@pts.edu.) The 2015 ISSR meeting took
place on November 20-21, in the downtown hotels in Atlanta, Georgia, just before the opening of the
Annual Meeting of the AAR/SBL. Dr. Maynard Moore, President of WesleyNexus, participated in the
2015 sessions.

The opening event on Friday morning featured a panel on the topic "
Against Empathy? Theological
Interrogation of Neuroscientific Debates on the Existence of the Human Mirror Neuron System and
the Moral Significance of Empathy.
" Panelists included Michael Spezio, Scripps College, UKE
Hamburg, and Caltech; Celia Deane-Drummond, University of Notre Dame; Anne Runehov, Uppsala
University, Sweden; Charlene Burns, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire; and Gregory Peterson, South
Dakota State University. Mirror neuron theory serves as a central pillar of some influential accounts
stressing embodied cognition of social understanding and of the evolution of language. But – there is a
major controversy in scientific circles as to whether mirror neurons even exist. The other controversy – of
equally intense interest to moral theologians and philosophers – is whether the brain encodes empathy
separately from “cognitive” forms of compassion and from concepts of justice in action. If so, then
empathy could be viewed (at best) as irrelevant and at worst destructive of moral formation beyond one’s
immediate ingroup. The discussion over this two-and-a half-hour period was intense, but resolution remains
elusive.

ISSR co-sponsored two other sessions during the AAR weekend. On Friday afternoon ISSR partnered with
the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and with the Association of Theological
Schools (ATS) in presenting "
Science and the Next Generation of Religious Leaders: The Science for
Seminaries Project.
" This was a five-hour event designed to showcase the grant-winning seminaries
currently working with AAAS and ATS, and to invite participation in the next stage of the project, entitled
"
Science for Seminaries." What have they learned? How can religious and theological education be
enhanced by science? How can future religious leaders best be exposed to the dialogue between religion and
science?
WesleyNexus plans to host an event on this topic during the Baltimore-Washington Annual
Conference in May, 2016
. The final ISSR session highlighted the latest research and important new books
in science and religion, including the latest from the research team of Andrew Robinson and Christopher
Southgate, Exeter University, on "
Creative Mutual Interaction in Action." Three other new books were also
featured, first with a critical commentary and then a response from the author, followed by audience
discussion. These other books included Michael Burdett,
Eschatology and the Technological Future; Robert
Geraci,
Virtually Sacred: Myth and Meaning in the World of Warcraft and Second Life; and Thomas Jay
Oord,
The Uncontrolling Love of God: An Open and Relational Account of Providence.

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American Academy of Religion – Science/Religion related events

During the AAR Annual Meetings in Atlanta, there were several interesting sessions focused on issues in the
current Science and Religion dialogue. Dr. Moore, WesleyNexus President, attended several of these
including: “Between Philosophy and a Phenomenological Hard Place: New Materialism as a Methodology
in the Study of Religion,” in which Dr. Whitney Bauman (Program Vice-President at IRAS) was the
respondent; a plenary panel on “Racial Injustice and the Religious response;” a session coordinated by Dr.
Tom Oord (WesleyNexus Advisory Board) on Open and Relational Theologies, which included
participation by Dr. Jurgen Moltmann, Universitat in Tubingen; “Class, Religion and Theology” which
featured Dr. Joerg Rieger of Perkins School of Theology; “Science, Technology and the Sacred;” “Cultural
Perspectives on the Cognitive Science of Religion,” and finally, two sessions that featured presentations by
Dr. Wesley Wildman of Boston University: “Cognitive and Evolutionary Approaches to Religious
Ideology,” and “Transhumanism: Hacking the Religious Mind through Cognitive Simulation.” It will be of
interest to WesleyNexus participants to follow the work of Dr. Wildman, www.wesleywildman.com. His
Modeling Religion Project (MRP) has just been awarded a Templeton Foundation grant; this is the sixth
specific project within a larger endeavor called the Simulating Religion Project in conjunction with the
Virginia Modeling Analysis and Simulation Center at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. MRP aims to
construct a simulation-development platform to support modeling the social dynamics of religion using
cognitively complex agents. The Complex Learner Agent Simulation Platform (CLASP) will allow modelers
to specify the cognitive, emotional, and social characteristics of agents, the causal architecture governing
how those characteristics interact, the processes by which agents learn from one another, and the types of
groups that agents can form—with no coding. This in turn will facilitate testing of theories of religion
through virtual experimentation. MRP includes a training component to introduce doctoral students and
post-doctoral associates to the complexities of modeling religion using simulation techniques, and an
outreach component to explain the benefits of simulation in the scientific study of religion. WesleyNexus
will periodically provide alerts when Dr. Wildman publishes research findings.


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Videos
Over the years, WesleyNexus has focused primarily on written resources available on the internet.  With
the increased network speed and computer capacity, it is becoming clear that we need to start emphasizing
video resources as well.  Below you will find a number of links to videos that are worth viewing.   

Process Theology Videos
What is Process Theology?  

The following videos present perspectives on what it means to be a process theologian.  Phil Clayton, John
Cobb, Marjorie Suchocki and David Ray Griffin represent over 50 years of presenting process thinking to
both academic and lay audiences.  John Cobb is perhaps best known in process theology, a United
Methodist and a strong advocate for integrating theological and scientific understanding.  He is Professor of
Theology Emeritus at the Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, California.  Phil Clayton is the
Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California.  He is known
internationally as one of the leaders in the science and religion dialogue and is also on the advisory board of
WesleyNexus.  Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, also is Professor Emerita, Claremont School of Theology, and
Co-director of Process & Faith, an affiliated program related to the Center for Process Studies.  Finally,  
David Ray Griffin, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy of Religion and Theology at the Claremont
School of Theology.  All four are Co-Directors of the Center for Process Studies (CPS) in Claremont, CA.  

As you might surmise, CPS is the flagship institution for process studies in the United States.  They have
always been amenable to the science and religion dialogue and in 2004 began a three year program in
science and religion.  In 2004, The Center for Process Studies began a new program: "Dialogues
Concerning Science and Natural Religion." Funded jointly by the Metanexus Institute's Local Societies
Initiative and the Helios foundation, the program's goal was to promote discussion between science and
religion, using process thought as a bridge between the two fields. This program is explicitly focused on
promoting fruitful interaction in the local community.  The results can be found
here.  

In Clayton, Suchocki and Griffin you will hear three different takes on what process theology is by three
intellectual leaders in the field.   


















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The God Debacle: Clayton and Shults on the Reality of God

In the past year, Philip Clayton has continued to engage in conversation with those who are convinced that
religion can be reduced to human mythological construction.  In “The God Debacle”, Leron Shults and
Clayton continue a discussion that began with Clayton’s critical commentary on Shults’ newest book,
Theology after the Birth of God.   The commentary can be found
here.

In this commentary, Clayton says “LERON SHULTS IS CONVINCED that he has broken the DNA
code of theology. We now know that humans construct their gods . . .
and how they do it. Given this knowledge, he is convinced, it's no longer
rationally acceptable to hold religious beliefs…At this stage of the
discussion one can see the case for both sides. It could be that humans
form theistic beliefs because of inbuilt cognitive and biocultural
mechanisms, such as hyperactive agency detection. Or it could be that
human reflection and/or experience lead us to recognize religious dimensions
of reality that underlie our empirical experience. If in the end personal
experience and social conditioning determine which of these two possibilities
you find more plausible, then arguments do not decide the question—neither
Shults’s arguments nor those of his opponents.  

With this pushback, Clayton sets the table for the live webcast that has been recorded
here.  NOTE:  The
quality is not the best but the content is outstanding.  Since it is two hours long, you may want to view the
discussion between Clayton and Shults which begins in part 2, minute 4.  It should be noted, that Shults
and Clayton know each other, are friends and, in the spirit of Josiah Royce and William James 100 years
ago, enrich each other through their disagreements.  Thanks to Tripp Fuller for sending me the edited links.

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Evangelicals and Traditional Theology Engaging in Science and Religion

Evangelicals and traditional theologians are also engaged in the science and religion dialogue.  The center of
gravity here is across the pond in England where Alister McGrath and Keith Ward represent scientifically
informed and theologically orthodox perspectives.  In the first video below, McGrath, Ward and John
Lennox discuss the relationship between science and religion.  In the following video, McGrath takes on
Christopher Hitchens, best selling “new atheist”.  








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TED Talks Related to Science and Religion

“TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or
less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and
today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.
Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world”.

Ted is now much more than Technology, Entertainment and Design with talks on dozens of subjects
including science and religion.  The videos below are three that combine these subjects from different
perspectives.  Bryan Enderle is an evangelical and professor of Chemistry at UC-Davis, Michael Dowd is a
well known speaker and author of
Thank God For Evolution and Jeff Lieberman is an MIT-trained artist,
scientist and engineer whose focus is on mystical experience and our relationship to the universe  and our
relationship to one another.









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A Tippling Philosopher: Everybody Is Wrong About God by James Lindsay
A Tippling Philosopher is a thread of linked youtube.com videos where skeptical philosophers address
issues relevant to the science and religion discussion.  The Tippling Philosopher can be found
here.  

In the video below, James Lindsay is interviewed about his new book
Everybody is Wrong About God.  A convinced atheist, Lindsay none-the-less
wishes to change the conversation to a more constructive, functional approach.  
The position is similar to the position of Shults in the "God Debacle".  As
Ryan Bell, who also appears in the God Debacle, states in his patheos review,
Everybody Is Wrong About God is a manifesto; a call to abandon the battle
over God, which has already been won and which some are still far too invested
in fighting, and move on to the main front in the struggle for the future of all
sentient beings. Not everyone will agree with Lindsay's conclusions, but everyone who cares about
secularism and humanism should read this book and discuss it vigorously”.

Ryan Bell’s review of book can be found
here.  

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Audio
Home Brewed Christianity with Tripp Fuller
(From the web page)
Since March 13, 2008, Homebrewed Christianity Podcast has been bringing you the best nerdy audiological
ingredients so you can brew your own faith.  You will find conversations between friends, theologians,
philosophers, and scholars of all stripes.  What started as a reason for Tripp to interview the authors of his
favorite books has turned into a community of podcasts, bloggers, & Deacons (what we call our regular
listeners) invested in expanding and deepening the conversation around faith and theology.  We hope you
listen, question, think, and then share the Brew!

In this audio podcast, Trip Fuller interviews Jurgen Moltmann,
one of the most influential theologians of the past 50 years.  




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Articles
Rhythm and … Logic? By Gary Herstein

After some 25 years in the computer and high-tech industries,
Gary Herstein decided to abandon his career in technology to
pursue a new career in academics.  He taught courses at Merrimack
and Muskingum colleges in Ethics, Logic, Philosophy of Science,
and Process Philosophy and Pragmatism. He is currently an
Independent Scholar working on various projects relating to the
philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, the logical forms and presuppositions of measurement, and the
connections between spatial reasoning and general metaphysics.  He has also written on “The Roycean
Roots of the Beloved Community” mentioned above.  

In the linked article found
here, Herstein addresses the “false dichotomy which supposedly stands between
aesthetics and analysis. But art and emotion do not stand in opposition to logic and reason.”

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Even God gets tired of God, Eight Forms of Tiredness Or
From Atheism to Faitheism: Saying no to God the Bully and yes to the Holy Spirit
by Jay McDaniel

Jay McDaniel is trained in the philosophy of religion and theology,
my specialty is Process or Whiteheadian thought.  His Ph.D. dissertation
was on Whitehead and Buddhism, with particular focus on whether and
how, with help from Whitehead's way of thinking, human beings might
jointly awaken to the wisdom of Buddhist enlightenment and simultaneously
live from faith in God.  In this short reflection, McDaniel reflects on the
tired religious ideas that don’t work anymore (with a little help from his
friend, John Lennon) and suggests that we move on to “Faitheism: sensing that there is a Breathing at work
in the universe and human life, a principle of order and novelty, a lure to love and be loved”.

McDaniel's reflection can be found
here.    

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Closing Prayer by United Methodist Bishop (retired) and Mrs. Josephine Stith

In closing, we at WesleyNexus wish to share a prayer written
by Forrest and Josephine Stith for this Christmas season.  We
thank them for allowing us to share this prayer
here.    

Bishop Stith was elected to the episcopacy in 1984 while serving
in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, and remains a strong
advocate for social justice and a friend of WesleyNexus.
December 14, 2015
John Cobb and Center for Process Studies
John B. Cobb, Jr.: Work and Legacy with Tom Oord, Phil Clayton and others
The Relationship Between Science and Religion
John Lennox, Alister McGrath and Keith Ward
Debate - Christopher Hitchens vs Alister McGrath
Is Religion a Poison or a Cure?
Science vs God
Bryan Enderle at TEDxUCDavis
Reality reconciles science and religion
Michael Dowd at TEDxGrandRapids
Science and spirituality
Jeff Lieberman at TEDxCambridge
Moltmann on Home Brewed Christianity
Interviewed by Tripp Fuller